How To Start Teaching Yoga

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Proper training and certification are essential for aspiring yoga instructors to ensure they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and credentials to teach safely and effectively. The most widely recognized certification program is offered by Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit organization that sets standards for yoga teacher training.

Yoga Alliance offers two main certification levels: a 200-hour program for entry-level instructors, and a 500-hour program for more advanced teachers. These programs cover topics such as yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodology, and practical teaching experience. Many reputable yoga schools and studios around the world offer Yoga Alliance-approved training programs.

While Yoga Alliance certification is not legally required to teach yoga, it provides several benefits for new instructors. Certification demonstrates to potential employers and students that you have completed comprehensive training and meet certain standards of competency. It also opens doors to job opportunities at many yoga studios and facilities that require instructors to be Yoga Alliance certified.

In addition to initial certification, continuing education is crucial for yoga teachers to deepen their knowledge, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and refine their teaching skills. Yoga Alliance requires certified instructors to complete ongoing training and education to maintain their credentials.

Beyond Yoga Alliance, there are other reputable certification programs available, such as those offered by individual yoga styles or lineages (e.g., Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga). These programs often have their own specific training requirements and may be more suitable for those interested in teaching a particular style of yoga.

 Choose Your Yoga Teaching Specialty

As a new yoga instructor, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what style of yoga you want to teach. The most popular styles include Hatha, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga, Yin, and Restorative. Each style has its own unique approach, pace, and physical demands.

Hatha yoga focuses on physical postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). It’s a great foundational style for beginners. Vinyasa, also called flow yoga, consists of a sequence of poses that flow seamlessly into one another, creating a dance-like movement synchronized with breath. Hot yoga, as the name implies, is practiced in a heated room which allows for a deeper stretch and detoxifying sweat. Yin yoga targets the connective tissues through long-held, passive floor poses. Restorative yoga emphasizes relaxation through the use of props to support the body in restful poses.

As you’re starting out, you may want to focus on one or two styles that really resonate with your personal practice and philosophy. This will allow you to go deep into that methodology and teach it with confidence. However, some new instructors prefer to offer a variety of class styles to keep things interesting and attract a wider range of students.

Another key consideration is whether you’d like to teach yoga to kids, adults, or both. Kids yoga requires a very different approach and skill set than adult classes, incorporating games, storytelling, and high-energy fun to keep children engaged. Teaching kids demands incredible patience, creativity, and energy!

No matter what styles or populations you choose to teach, it’s wise to start narrow in your niche, then expand your offerings over time as you become more experienced and confident as an instructor. The most important thing is to share what you’re passionate about and continually work to deepen your own practice.

Gain Teaching Experience

As a new yoga teacher, gaining practical teaching experience is crucial before you start leading your own classes. One of the best ways to do this is by assisting experienced yoga instructors. Many studios offer apprenticeship or assistant teaching programs where you can observe seasoned teachers, assist in class setup and breakdowns, provide hands-on adjustments to students, and potentially teach portions of the class under the guidance of the lead instructor. This immersive experience allows you to learn teaching techniques, class sequencing, and how to create a supportive environment for students.

Another great option is to offer free community classes. Look for opportunities at local parks, community centers, or even your own living room to teach friends and family. These low-pressure settings allow you to practice teaching full classes, work on your cueing and instruction delivery, and receive valuable feedback from attendees. It’s also a chance to start building your teaching confidence in a supportive environment.

Speaking of friends and family, don’t underestimate the value of teaching those closest to you. They can provide honest feedback, allow you to experiment with different teaching styles, and help you work through any nerves or insecurities you may have about leading a class. Treat these sessions as you would a paid class, but also use them as a learning opportunity to refine your skills.

As you start gaining experience, one of the biggest challenges new yoga teachers face is building confidence. Remember that even the most accomplished instructors were once in your shoes. Prepare thoroughly for each class, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes – they’re opportunities for growth. Focus on sharing your passion for yoga and creating a welcoming space for students. With time and practice, your confidence will grow, and teaching will become more natural and enjoyable.

 Find Yoga Teaching Opportunities

As a new yoga teacher, there are several avenues to explore for finding teaching jobs. One of the most common is reaching out to local yoga studios and gyms. Many are often looking for substitute teachers or new class offerings. Prepare your resume and cover letter highlighting your training and passion for yoga. You may need to start by offering a few free classes to get your foot in the door.

Another lucrative option in today’s digital age is online teaching platforms like YogaGlo or MyYogaTeacher. These allow you to teach virtual classes from anywhere to a global audience. Create a profile, submit an audition video, and market yourself. With online teaching, you can build your own schedule and rate.

Don’t overlook opportunities at retreat centers, resorts, and other wellness destinations either. These places frequently hire traveling yoga instructors for guest programming and special events. Do some research on your ideal locations and inquire about any openings.

You can also build a base of private clients by word-of-mouth or advertising your services locally. This allows you to create more personalized sessions and build long-term relationships with your students. Start by offering competitive introductory rates.

No matter which path you pursue, be prepared to do ample marketing and self-promotion as a new teacher. Leverage social media, create a basic website, hand out business cards, and continuously network within the yoga community. Getting your name out there is key to finding your first teaching opportunities.

Plan Beginner-Friendly Yoga Classes

As a new yoga instructor teaching beginner classes, thoughtfully planning your sequences is key. Start with a grounding meditation to center your students. Then guide them through a well-rounded warm-up including gentle movements to awaken the breath and body awareness. The main sequence should focus on breaking down foundational poses like Mountain, Forward Fold, Plank, and Downward Facing Dog. Use props liberally – offer blocks, straps, blankets and bolsters to make poses accessible. 

When teaching alignment, stick to the basics rather than overloading students with too much technical instruction. Cue from the ground up, ensuring proper foot placement and weight distribution. Remind students to find what feels good in their bodies versus trying to mimic perfect form. To keep things engaging, change it up every few poses by adding a balancing posture, gentle backbend, and hip opener. Sprinkle in breathwork and bring students’ focus back to their inhales and exhales.

End class with a longer hold in a restorative posture like Supported Child’s Pose. Guide students through a short meditation or breathing exercise. Finally, have everyone slowly transition to a comfortable seated position. Allow a few minutes of silence before ringing a bell or chime to complete the practice. Thank students for their effort and presence. Invite them to set an intention for carrying that sense of grounded peace into the rest of their day.

Set Your Rates as a New Instructor

One of the biggest questions new yoga teachers have is how much to charge for classes. As a beginner instructor, it’s important to price your offerings fairly while still valuing your time and expertise. A reasonable starting rate for a 60-minute group basics class is typically $30-50. If you’re just teaching friends and family initially, you may want to offer discounted rates of $15-25 per class.

Private one-on-one instruction should be priced higher, around $60-100 per hour depending on your experience level and location. When determining rates, consider factors like rental costs for space, cost of living in your area, competitors’ pricing, and your training/credentials.

As you gain more teaching experience over time, plan to raise your rates gradually every 6-12 months. Established teachers with multiple certifications can charge $75+ for group classes and $100-200+ for privates. Don’t undervalue yourself, but also be mindful of what’s fair and reasonable for your market.

In addition to standard class packages, offer other income streams like workshops, retreats, teacher trainings, and selling branded merchandise. Specialty offerings like these can be priced at premium rates of $100-500+ based on the value they provide. Get creative and don’t rely solely on class fees as your only revenue.

Continuing Growth as a Yoga Teacher

As a new yoga instructor, it’s important to embrace the idea of being a lifelong learner. The yoga teaching path is one of continuous growth and self-study. Here are some key ways to keep evolving as a teacher:

 Take Advanced Trainings  

Don’t stop at your 200-hour certification. Immerse yourself in advanced 300/500-hour trainings to deepen your knowledge of philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodologies and specialized areas like prenatal yoga or yoga therapy. Keep expanding your skills.

Find a Mentor  

Seek out experienced yoga teachers who can mentor you. Having a guide to learn from can be invaluable, especially those early years. They can provide feedback, advice and inspiration as you navigate this new career.

Deepen Your Own Practice  

The best yoga teachers are also dedicated students of the practice. Commit to a consistent personal yoga routine. Explore different styles, attend workshops and keep discovering yoga’s teachings. Embody what you aim to share with others.

Network with Your Peers 

Connect with other yoga teachers in your area or online. Having a community allows you to exchange ideas, receive support and hear diverse perspectives. Networking leads to new opportunities too.  

Stay Current on Trends  

The yoga world is always evolving with new research, teachings and trends emerging. Read yoga publications, listen to podcasts and attend conferences to remain aware of the latest developments in the field. This allows you to modernize your classes.

Growth and learning never stop for a dedicated yoga teacher. By prioritizing your own education, you’ll be able to better serve your students while experiencing the profound enrichment that yoga offers.

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